Vietnam Team Journal

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

By Keith
Thought of the day: Not everything that counts can be counted

NBK volunteers were treated to a special program put on by the 11th year students. The gala began with tea (delicately described as “smoky sweet with mystery chunks, possibly ginseng”) and rice cakes and included a video presentation on the city of Ha Noi, highlighting places to visit and seasonal changes at Hoan Kiem Lake. Volunteers were impressed by the students’ enthusiasm and their talent in creating the video. The dedication to the student project was greatly admired and appreciated.

Yet another after-dinner visit to the lake found another enthusiastic endless parade of people participating in what must be a special event for this city and country. Each evening’s events are a little more spectacular than those of the night before. It bodes well for the next several days.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday September 29, 2010

By Mary and Deborah
Thought of the day:
"I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better." A. Lincoln

True to our expectations, our new classes were lively, and the students were quick to learn from their new-found teachers.

The upper grades were fairly structured, with more articulate conversation and sharing. In addition to highly skilled computer technology learning, the students were interested in phenomena regarding Michael Jackson and Lady GaGa. One student even demonstrated his skills in a moonwalk.

The Middle students were actively hi-fiving us, followed by eager use of their verbal skills, and exhibiting amazing map skills; just another sign of well-rounded students having varied experiences in their short lives. Their interest rallied around smaller group interaction rather than formal generalized instruction.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday, September 28th

By Barbara
Teaching is tough! Today we had our first day of teaching. Some of us went to Foreign Trade University where we were warmly welcomed by the faculty. The campus is a bustling hive of activity with thousands of students. As Terry said, feels good to be back in a college town!

We did a variety of teaching activity. Personally I had two serious classes, with two serious teachers! The subject was presentations and how to give them. It was hot as blazes and very humid, like being in a hot yoga class. My morning class was at a higher English level and more engaged than the afternoon class but both had curious and intelligent groups of students. Some things, like fear of public speaking, are no different cross continents or cross cultures. It was great to see the students gain a bit of confidence as they practiced their presentation skills.

The traffic and horns honking remain an astounding feature of Hanoi so far. The warm and welcoming faces of the students call us back for more tomorrow.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday September 27th

By Seija
The 11th Hanoi Global Volunteer group assembled Saturday evening for an "introduction/meet/greet" evening. Must say, we have a rather eclectic, well traveled, highly educated troop here ..... quite extraordinary, really..... should make for a very scintillating two weeks! Who would have thought even a short year ago, that I would be here in exotic Hanoi, about to embark on my second volunteer journey. What the heck took me so long?? Our group leader and host, Francoise made us all feel very welcome, appreciated and comfortable with each other in no time at all. Hoa Binh Palace put on a very tasty typical Vietnamese feast for us in their charming Chica Restaurant, on the 8th and top floor of the hotel.....lovely place to gather, as we continued getting to know each other, while wining and dining in fine style :)

Sunday morning, with a hearty breakfast under our belts and very very strong coffee to jolt us all into wake mode, We hit the meeting room for a further information session with Francoise on policies, philosophy, safety and health issues etc. Seems we have many repeat volunteers in our group—for some, this is their 11th time volunteering! Wow, amazing! With our imaginations fully engaged, a back wall was soon filled with colorful cards, listing all manner of goals and objectives for the weeks ahead. A common thread seemed to be both a desire to share and learn, while having a good time together.

After lunch, we had the pleasure of meeting staff from both the Nguyen Binh Khiem Secondary School (NBK) and the Foreign Trade University. They gave us a bit of a break down on what was to be expected of us during our time here, making us feel very welcome and appreciated while doing so. They assigned our schools and classrooms, at which point we broke off into two separate groups for further discussions. We decided to more or less wing it our first day and feel our way around the system ......listening, learning and helping when and where requested.